KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said that the opening of another supermarket here shows confidence in his government’s handling of the economy.
Greaves Marketplace, the largest of the C.K. Greaves and Co.’s supermarkets began operating in Pembroke on Wednesday.
Gonsalves was invited to tour the supermarket the previous Friday and lauded the “modern, well-equipped” facility.
“They are clearly a very progressive business family,” Gonsalves said of the family, whom. Along with the Bonadies and Vieras — also supermarket operators — elements of his Unity Labour Party have often criticised because of their reported support for the opposition New Democratic Party.
“They have invested EC$11 million on the building and the plant. This would no doubt add to the competition for supermarkets in the country and you know I love that and we all ought to celebrate that because, hopefully, we will see a wider range and better quality food and drinks and, of course, hopefully to add more competitive prices,” he said.
The government has failed in its attempts to operate a supermarket and have divested majority share of Food City — formerly the Marketing Corp. Supermarket — to a St. Lucian entity.
“The investment is obviously a sign of confidence in the government’s handling of the economy and of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. You don’t take $11 and invest it in a supermarket if you believe the propaganda of some that the place is badly run and [is] going to the dog, to put it in common language.
“When people take their money — EC$11 million — and invest it in an enterprise of this sort, it is clearly a sign of confidence. The Greaves family, they are not establishing a charitable institution. It’s a business where they would serve Vincentians and our visitors and no doubt make a reasonable return on their investment and in this way, create further wealth in the country,” Gonsalves said.
He said that about 80 persons are employed at the supermarket and added, “This is … very good employment creation …”
Gonsalves also said that the oversubscription in just 90 minutes of his government’s EC$40 million bond issue in April and the EC$20 million oversubscription of the EC$25 million Treasury bill in June are also sign of confidence in the local economy, which grew less than one per cent last year, after three years of decline.
He further said that the 3.25 per cent interest the in June instruments attracted is half od what Kingstown’s Treasury bills attracted when he arrived in office in March 2001.
He further said that other investments in the Grenadines, including in Canouan and Bequia, are also signs of confidence in his government’s handling of the economy.